Baseball Picks & Betting Odds: NPB Futures & KBO Projections for Thursday’s Doubleheaders


Alex Trautwig/MLB via Getty Images. Pictured: Hayato Sakamoto (right)

After four rainouts on Wednesday, the KBO will play nine games and four doubleheaders on Thursday morning with scheduled starters all slated to pitch at 2 a.m. ET, followed by a full slate of five games at 5:30 a.m. ET.

Generally, the KBO doesn’t announce starters for the second game of doubleheaders until very late, and books tend to put up lines for both games with little indication as to which line corresponds to which contest, so take an extra second to ensure that you are betting on the correct KBO game by either verifying the start time or the rotation number.

I did, however, attempt to project the starting pitchers the four doubleheaders, and I’ll announce any changes to those projections based any on new information via Twitter.

Since we cannot confirm the starting pitchers for ESPN’s featured KBO game on Thursday between the Doosan Bears and the SK Wyverns, there’s little sense in previewing that matchup from a betting perspective.

Instead, I want to take a quick peek at futures for Japan’s NPB league.

If you are looking for more information about the KBO League, check out my season primer. If you want to know more about Taiwan’s CPBL, you can find that here.

  • KBO Year to Date: 72-85 (-7.19 Units)
  • CPBL Year to Date: 38-31 (+10.31 Units)
  • NPB Year to Date: 7-4 (+3.63 units)

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ZIPS & 2020 NPB Futures

The Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks swept the Yomiuri Giants 4-0 in the 2019 Japan Series, after making a run from the first playoff stage as the No. 2 seed in the Pacific League.

The top team in both the Central and Pacific leagues receive a playoff bye, while the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds in either league square off in a best-of-three series.

The “Final Stage” for the league playoffs is a four-game series, between the No. 1 seed and the winner of the No. 2 vs. No. 3 matchup. The two league winners meet in the Japan Series.

As a result, if you are looking to bet NPB futures, you want to search for the teams with the highest probability of finishing in the 1-3 spots in each league while also considering the fact that the first-place team has to win one fewer series.

Here is how Fangraphs’ ZIPS sees the 2020 NPB season:

Per ZIPS, only the Giants (37.2%) in the Central as well as the Golden Eagles (37.6%) and Hawks (33.9%) in the Pacific have a greater than 30% chance of finishing in the top spot in their league.

Based upon ZIPS implied playoff probabilities, here is how I would set the fair odds for each team, relative to their listed odds in the futures market:

As a result, I would begin to take a look at the Baystars, Carp, Golden Eagles and Tigers in the futures market, but stay tuned to my column in the coming days as I continue to break down the NPB and its various teams.

Full KBO Betting Card for June 25

  • KT Wiz +157 (1 unit) – Game 1
  • SK Wyverns +146 (1 unit) – Game 1
  • Hanwha Eagles, Team Total Over 3.5 (-114, 0.5 units)
  • KIA Tigers, Team Total Over 3.5 (-105, 0.5 units)

KBO Year to Date: 72-85 (-7.19 Units)

[Bet now at DraftKings. CO, NJ, PA, IN, and WV only.]

Full CPBL Betting Card for June 25

  • N/A
  • CPBL Year to Date: 38-31 (+10.31 Units)

[Bet now at DraftKings. CO, NJ, PA, IN, and WV only.]

Full NPB Betting Card for June 25

  • Softbank Hawks / Seibu Lions, Under 10 (-110, 1 unit)

NPB Year to Date: 7-4 (+3.63 units)

[Bet now at DraftKings. CO, NJ, PA, IN, and WV only.]

Zerillo’s Baseball Model, June 25

Download the Excel doc with my projections to input odds from your sportsbook. These projections cover the full game moneylines, over/unders, and team totals. A sample of one of the sheets is below: 

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